‘A Policeman’s lot is not a happy one’, so goes the line in the Pirates of Penzance.
And it’s not getting any easier as they face an increasing array of pontificating armchair experts who’ve never tackled anything more dangerous than a rancid past its use by date avocado.
I know folk in the thin blue line so my sympathies lie with those running towards danger, not those who’d make Lewis Hamilton look like a slouch in racing away from it.
I traded in my naivety gene years ago.
I’m in no doubt about the nature of some of the bad folk in this world, and what they’d do if left untrammelled by law and order.
The problem with the law and trying to uphold it is that some folk only want it upheld when it suits their own narrow political or moral view of the world.
Policing is by definition an impossible task and pleasing folk ranks way down the list of a coppers duty.
Recent days are a great example of the difficulties faced by officers who are prepared to put their lives on the line for Joe public.
In that time police in Glasgow have had to deal with the botched detention of two men by immigration officials, and which but for their prudent tactical decision to release them, could have spilled into serious disorder.
1/ I’m understandably inundated with messages about y’day’s disgraceful scenes in Glasgow. Police still have a job to do, which restrains my comments to some extent – but to say I’m utterly disgusted by the Rangers fans who rampaged through the city would be an understatement…
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) May 16, 2021
Then they had to contend with a riot in George Square as a rabble of Rangers fans embarked on an orgy of violence and what the justice minister called anti-Irish and anti-Catholic abuse.
The tally of police injuries as battle raged in the city centre on Saturday included broken bones and lost teeth, among a host of other damages.
Would any other trade or profession accept what we ask of police or emergency service workers?
Rangers fans throwing flares and debris at police in George Square last night. @policescotland say three officers have been injured and a number of arrests have been made. @STVNews pic.twitter.com/UCSga8khPN
— Polly Bartlett (@polly_bartlett) May 16, 2021
If sheriffs or High Court judges faced it, we’d see an instant job creation scheme in the building of new jails.
Yet police officers are assaulted daily, often not bothering to report it such is the frequency.
During the Covid pandemic officers have faced an absence of personal protective equipment despite daily contact with the widest variety of the public, and many have had to self isolate after being sent into houses to break up gatherings, leaving colleagues stretched to the limit.
The General Secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, Calum Steele, tells of a ‘decade of cuts, dated equipment, essential training effectively abandoned and crumbling police buildings’.
That’s before they’ve had to as he puts it, ‘navigate a dogs breakfast of messaging that often concentrated on guidance whilst ignoring the limits of legislation’.
It seems the cops can’t do right for doing wrong.
No matter how unbelievably lucky we are to have such courageous officers protecting our communities, none of them – NONE – deserve this.
Just two of the officers injured in yesterday’s carnage in the West of Scotland.
— Calum Steele (@CalumA_Steele) May 16, 2021
Left wing, right wing, centre ground, all line up to kick the men and women who’s daily tasks dealing with the public, would see them run a mile from the grimness, brutality, depravity, and sights seen which can never be unseen, which is the daily lot of those on the thinner than ever blue line.
Cops are people too
Some folk see them as tools of state oppression conveniently forgetting that cops also have families and come from as wide a variety of backgrounds, political and otherwise as the rest of us.
Others think they’re killjoys for pulling them over for bald tyres, no insurance, or speeding.
Officers, often just out of their teens deal with suicides, drug overdoses, brutal domestic violence, stabbings, sudden deaths and fatal road traffic collisions
From those boasting PhDs on the impact of holiday cottages on the flora of the Western Isles, to the obliquely titled ‘community activists’, cops have their courage, fortitude, and mental wellbeing insulted by critics, who in their lazy ignorance, have no comprehension of their soul sapping daily grind with life’s flotsam and jetsam.
Officers, often just out of their teens deal with suicides, drug overdoses, brutal domestic violence, stabbings, sudden deaths, fatal road traffic collisions, and a host of grim goings on which would test their detractors to destruction.
Those who’ve never faced an angry mob of drug addled thugs intent on violence, and who feel no pain courtesy of their doped up state, would be innocents abroad in dealing with the lot of our police.
A pair of county cops can find themselves facing vicious assault from a pack of feral thugs, knowing that the nearest assistance can be up to 20 minutes away.
City cops get call outs to dark tenement closes not knowing if they’ll face a madman with a machete.
Without canteens to eat in at many stations they cop for criticism when stopping at a supermarket for sustenance, and often go entire shifts without a break or food.
Like a dog, the law isn’t just for Christmas.
It’s there for our benefit every day, and patrolled by our sisters, brothers, fathers and mothers, and sons and daughters.
And they deserve much better than the outrageous physical abuse and cheap vitriol that they faced last week.